Help for Parkinson’s − the Natural Way

Tai chi, Macrobiotics, Shiatsu, Acupressure

Scientific research recently has indicated that people with Parkinson’s who take Tai Chi classes have excellent outcomes for reduction of symptoms and increased mobility. This is very positive for those with this condition. It actually has more far reaching possibilities than was recognized in the report of the following study. Science has been slow to recognize some of the principles of Oriental Philosophy and Medicine and it is indicated in their interpretation of the results.


195 people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s were randomly assigned 2 per week sessions of either Tai Chi, strength building exercises or stretching.

After 6 months, those who did Tai Chi experienced:

  •  Stronger, improved balance − 2 times more than the strength building group & 4 times more than the stretching group
  • Half the falls of the strength building group and 2/3 of the falls in the stretching group
  • Slower rates of decline in overall motor control

The report says that clients took Tai Chi and gave the results. The report did not recognize the fundamental nature of what Tai Chi is and what is happening when one is performing the movements.  The basic aspect is that of Chi energy − a fundamental life force.  Tai Chi is a movement exercise that changes and alters chi flow in the body, helps to build chi energy and balance the flow of energy thru the meridians (channels thru which the energy travels).

If this manipulation of chi aids the Parkinson’s patient in gaining increased mobility, then it must be affecting the brain − improving its ability to regulate the neuro-muscular system and possibly affecting the nerves which stimulate dopamine production. 

The next thing to conclude is that if this form of energy manipulation can be successful, why not other forms such as Macrobiotic or          Traditional Chinese dietary theories, Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Amma Massage, Chi Qong exercises, and more.

As a Macrobiotic Way of Life Counselor, I make use of energetic signs and symptoms in the face, on the tongue, in behavior and in reading pulses, etc. to determine what a person needs.  All foods have various energetic properties such as contacting/expanding, warming/cooling, and moving upward/downward, inside/outside.  The foods may have energetic relationships with each of the 5 major solid organs − heart, spleen, pancreas, liver, lungs, kidneys.  By assessing the energetic landscape of a person, we counter by recommending the foods which are going to do the opposite of the condition. This will bring the body into balance. Too much contracting needs expansive foods or styles of cooking.  Too much fire needs foods with cooling energies. The fundamental principle behind Macrobiotics is to manipulate chi (energy) to find balance.


In an experiment at Yale University, 11 patients with Parkinson’s who ate a revised diet experienced reduced movement fluctuations and less need for drugs than patients following the standard modern way of eating.

Their healthy diet consisted of:

  • Whole grains
  • Green and yellow vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Low in protein from animal and vegetable sources

They avoided:

  • All meats
  • Egg white
  • Gelatin
  • Dairy food
  • Beans and nuts
  • Chocolate and pastries

“On this diet, patients, can predictably expect daytime mobility, thus permitting near normal function and independence at home or on the job,” the researchers concluded.

 −J.H.Pincus and K.Barry, “Influence of Dietary Protein on Motor Fluctuation in Parkinson’s disease,” Archives of Neurology 44:270,1987


In order to follow the Macrobiotic Way of Eating, proper food preparation is vital. It is possible that a cook could come to the home to prepare meals. But a caregiver or the Parkinson’s patient could get individualized cooking training so that an understanding of what goes into the preparations can be developed. In Traditional Oriental Medicine, Parkinson’s is usually defined as a Liver Wind condition (extreme toxic exposure) so healing the liver becomes a major component. Diet wise that may involve eating a lot of leafy green vegetables like kale and collards or eating shiitake mushrooms. Minimizing oil and extreme sweets is also a key factor. Sea vegetables in the diet like kelp and arame are helpful for discharging toxins from the body. There are numerous foods that can benefit the liver. Getting a full scale consultation can provide specific recommendations to insure good results.


Shiatsu and Acupressure involve pressing points on the body which in turn affect how the internal systems are functioning. Shiatsu is a full body treatment done by a practitioner. Acupressure can be learned and points can be pressed by the Parkinson’s patient or a caregiver. For example: there is a point  on the foot that is in the webbing between the big toe and second toe which relates to the liver meridian. If that point is sore it means the liver meridian is out of balance and there probably is a liver condition that needs addressing. Pressing there also changes the flow of energy and regular practice helps heal the liver.  But each individual could also have other underlying conditions which should also be dealt with. Both Macrobiotics and Shiatsu can address all of these conditions to improve overall mobility and functioning.  Combine this with Tai Chi and your chances of improving the condition are highly increased.

Parkinson’s Retreat

Saturday, March 18, 2017 • 9:15am-4:30 pm • $35

Pre-register call: Dr. Tom Wachtmann 610-841-3395


Call Steve Hoog for an appointment or more information

on the Macrobiotic Diet • Shiatsu • Acupressure


Coffee for Parkinson’s?


A Macrobiotic & Oriental Medicine Approach

By Steve Hoog, Macrobiotic Practitioner

Several scientific studies have indicated that a certain degree of coffee drinking may reduce the risk of getting Parkinson’s Disease. It is certainly true of males, but the results are mixed for females.

Male risk:

Studies in Spain, Sweden, and Germany have shown a reduced risk for males with high coffee consumption. In Hawaii a study was done with 8,000 men over a median 27 years that showed a 5 fold reduction risk with more than 4 cups per day compared to non-consumers. Ingestion of caffeine from other non-coffee sources indicated the same thing. A study in 2014 failed to show that, but a global study of many tests indicated an average of about 25-31% reduction. Some of those studies revealed an 80% reduction with over 4 cups daily.

Female risk:

It has been found that if women are taking Hormone Replacement Therapy and drinking coffee, they are actually more susceptible. Both HRT and coffee show positive results individually, but if taken together they are worse. Specifically, if a woman on HRT were drinking more than 5 cups of coffee per day, she was 1½ times more likely to get Parkinson’s than a heavy coffee drinker who did not take HRT. The same woman if drinking less than 5 cups per day would have the same good results as men.

Coffee apparently prevents the loss of dopamine producing nerve cells. The medical field is not yet recommending drinking lots of coffee as a preventative, but they are continuing studies in hopes of isolating specific ingredients for special therapy.

 The Macrobiotic and Oriental Medicine approach:

Since coffee is an extreme food, the Oriental approach to any illness is not to battle it, but to re-establish balance within the body. One balance is a contraction / expansion balance. Some foods have a strong contractive effect such as eggs, salt and red meat. Others have a strong expansive effect such as sugar, drugs, alcohol, ice cream and COFFEE.

Coffee is out of the range of daily food and would be recommended only for occasional or rare use because it can cause:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Jittery nerves
  • Focused thinking which can become ungrounded and unfocused Caffeine interacts with some medications including thyroid medication, the depression drug, Cipro, and heartburn drug, Tagamet
  • It increases blood sugar levels making it harder for those with type 2 diabetes to manage their insulin
  • It may slightly raise blood pressure.
  • It is very acidic and irritating the gastrointestinal tract can also contribute to acid reflux problems. Too much acidity can help cause numerous problems and contributes to immune system depletion.

Grains, beans and vegetables are more central in the Oriental contractive / expansive effect and are the mainstay way of eating.

Michio Kushi, noted Macrobiotic teacher, used to say it was a good food for planning, but not necessarily for manifesting.

The Oriental approach sees Parkinson’s as a problem with highly toxic substances affecting the liver which has a strong control over the neuromuscular system.  The preventative would be to always be aware of toxins in one’s environment and eating organic foods.  But, living near roads that are well traveled, living near farms where there is a lot of spraying, working in a dental office or other places where there is exposure to toxic elements, exposure to new car out-gassing, or exposure to new furniture that is out-gassing are also things to be aware of.  Home well water may be contaminated. Numerous other sources of toxins may be affecting the liver and the muscular system.

Scientific testing for every one of these elements can take time, but the use of Applied Kinesiology, also known as muscle testing, can quickly help identify what toxins are causing the problem.  The next step would be to avoid these toxins in the future − not always an easy task.

Pay regular attention to your liver by:

  • Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables
  • Using blood cleansing herbs like burdock or red clover
  • Including seaweed in your diet that can help attract toxins and eliminate them from the body

Steve’s recommendations:

Coffee’s effects will vary depending on what your present constitution and condition are. It is my contention that Parkinson’s is not a coffee deficiency disease and because it has extreme effects should not be considered as a preventative or as therapy.

Generally eat a plant based diet emphasizing grains, beans and vegetables with a small amount of organic free range animal food or wild and sustainably caught fish, if desired.

Each person’s diet would be slightly different because people may have other conditions that may need to be addressed. Some people have conditions that are too contractive or too expansive and the diet must reflect that to make balance.

In conclusion, I see no reason to look for a “one shot approach” to knocking out Parkinson’s Disease.  Finding some magic bullet such as coffee or some derivative of it may not be right for you. The response, I like, is to maintain a diet that sufficiently balances the body’s systems with some tweaking here or   there, depending on one’s overall condition. I think it is vital to assess the toxins involved and limit or avoid exposure. Changing your way of eating and including movement modalities like Tai Chi, Feldenkrais Method® or Coordination Pattern™ Training can go a long way to maintain a normal functioning lifestyle. There is no reason to use an extreme food or a derivative to avoid or reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease which may cause other problems later.

For your specific health recommendation, call Steve at 610-756-6867

Parkinson’s Disease Retreat for patients and care-givers. Saturday, March 18, 2017, 9:15 am – 4:30 pm

Register early to reserve your space at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center, 628 Twin Ponds Rd., Breinigsville, PA 18031   For more information about Steve Hoog visit


Healing with Daily Food – Daikon Radish

macrobiotic-diet-chartby Stephen Hoog

The daikon radish is a long white root vegetable sometimes up to a foot in length. It can be boiled, steamed, sauteed or pickled. It has pungent taste when raw and sweet taste when cooked. One of its main actions is to disperse animal fats that may have accumulated in and around organs  When one eats a meal high in oil or fat it is beneficial to fine grate a daikon then add a few drops of good quality soy sauce or tamari. By eating this simple dish as a condiment the meal is more easily digested. Daikon radish, also, can be obtained in the dried form. Soaked and eaten as a vegetable this form can help dissolve fatty deposits deep in the body such as those found in the prostate ovaries or uterus. Fresh daikon is more helpful in dissolving fats in more superficial parts of the body but can have a general effect.

There are special radish drinks which can be used for other medicinal purposes . One for fever is called Daikon Drink #1.  It is made by mixing 3 tbsps. grated radish, 1/4 tsp grated ginger and 2tsps. soy sauce. Then one pours 2-3 cups hot kukicha tea [twig tea] over it. It should be drunk warm–as much as possible. Then one should wrap oneself in a warm blanket or go to sleep. It makes you sweat and lowers body temperature. Some have used it for animal food poisoning and appendicitis. It is best used by strong and active people who get a fever from extreme foods. It shouldn’t be taken more than 3x a day.

Daikon Drink #2 is used to induce urination to relieve swollen feet or ankles. It is prepared by grating a 1/2 cup of radish and squeezing out the juice. Next one takes 2 tbsp of juice and adds 6 tbsp of hot water with a small amount of soy sauce or sea salt. This mix is brought to a boil and simmered for 1 minute, then drunk.   It should be used only  once a day and no more than three days in a row.

There is also a special carrot-daikon drink which helpful for liver problems and aids in discharging eggs, cheese and animal fats from almost any where in the body . It can dissolve calcified stones in the gall bladder and kidneys. It is being used for dissolving tumors and numerous other conditions.  It is made by grating 1/2 cup each of carrots and daikon. This is put in a pan with 2 cups of water and brought to a slow boil. Then  1/3 sheet of nori seaweed and 1/3 of an umeboshi plum should be added.  All ingredients are cooked for 3 minutes  with a few drops of soy sauce included  at the end. Everything then is eaten.

Numerous other daikon drinks can be prepared for varying conditions. Adding foods like shiitake mushrooms, lotus root, cabbage, burdock,  or roasted rice to the drink can target a variety of organs and conditions.

Daikon leaves are not to be wasted, They are very valuable, They can be eaten as a vegetable, pickled, made into a tea or used as a compress[for allergies].  Daikon leaves can be boiled and made into a hip bath for warming the lower abdominal area which loosens stagnation in that area. Cysts and tumors are helped by this.

Daikon roots are pickled at old farmhouses by hanging the root up to dry for a few days until they are limp then placing in a crock. They are mixed with rice bran and salt and layered. The following year they  are removed.  These pickles are high in vitamins and minerals and digestives enzymes. They can be eaten one small slice at a time usually during the colder months.

Some local food stores carry daikon  all year.  Chinese stores often carry it.  Locally grown is usually available in the fall . It is not always easy to grow the early varieties as they get buggy easily. Some farmers actually use daikon to loosen the soil so when they harvest it in the fall there is often an abundance of daikon available at farmers markets.

The list of use for the daikon is much longer than this article can cover..It is a fascinating common food that has marvelous healing properties and it needs no prescription to obtain.

The Macrobiotic Way of Eating involves assessing how one is making balance, both internally and in relationship to the environment then making choices to maintain that balance.  It also involves seeing the situation in terms of energy. A formal consultation includes looking at a persons medical history, using oriental diagnosis such as facial clues and   pulse reading, discussion of emotional factors and finally muscle testing to clarify what a persons individual needs are.  In most cases the result is a recommendation for a plant based diet however some animal may be included if a person so desires as well as herbal supplements if needed. This way of eating is changing constantly  throughout the seasons and as ones’ condition improves.

Read about Stephen Hoog and Macrobiotic Way of Eating.